How To Use Scarcity & Urgency To Convert More Sales

business strategy May 07, 2019

As of this writing, I am at Inspired Retreat, which is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s an intimate business retreat led by my good friend Amber Housley just outside Nashville and I got to speak to some amazing ladies about money mindset — something I’ve been studying and very passionate about over the past year or two.

I was really excited to teach the attendees what I’ve learned and experienced myself in changing my attitude and my relationship with money, as it’s something that has made a HUGE difference in my own life and business. It’s also something that ties into what I teach on pricing. Because I can teach you how to price your offers, but if you still have a scarcity mindset when it comes to money and you are approaching your sales and business from a place of lack, desperation, and fear, you’re not going to hit your goals. You just won’t.

This is why the mindset component is SO important, and I want this message to get to more than just my Inspired Retreat babes. So here it is, just for you (and all your biz buddies).

Why Do Brands Use Scarcity in Marketing?

As some of you may or may not know, I’m sort of obsessed with skincare. I love to research all types of products and ingredients and learn about what they can do. I know — it’s weird. When I started paying attention to the beauty industry, though, I noticed something about the way they launched products that was really interesting. First of all, the number of new launches is insane. There are also a lot of different brands. So you’ve got so many new products coming out all the time, which may not make a ton of sense. After all, makeup products last you forever. So how were these brands getting people to buy the same type of products again and again and again?

By using scarcity and urgency. Because most of the products they were launching were all “limited edition” or deep on sale. From a marketing perspective, this was smart for two reasons:

  • First: it encourages people to buy it RIGHT NOW because the brand might run out of the specific product.
  • Second: it made the consumers think that they had to have this particular product or this particular blush because it was “special.”

Suddenly, these brands have created all these makeup junkies who are collecting and hoarding make-up that they didn’t even need because they had created these feelings of scarcity and urgency around their products. It’s freaking genius! And it clearly works. We humans don’t like to miss out. We all know FOMO is a thing. How many times have you bought something “just in case” or because you “didn’t want to miss out” or you were worried that you’d never have the opportunity again? Scarcity and urgency work, my friends.

How Scarcity and Urgency Work

Of course, the example of makeup brands is a little silly, since these products aren’t actually limited edition or scarce. Most of the time, the most popular “limited edition” products are re-released due to popularity, while the ones that flop go on deep discount and the cycle starts all over again. But the principle is the same: these brands use scarcity and urgency to drive people to buy. You can do that, too — just with real scarcity and urgency.

But why do these tactics work? Because we humans do not like making decisions. We prefer to stay in our current state, unless forced to change or make a decision. You have to MAKE people move. You have to MAKE them make a decision. There needs to be some external force or pressure in place for people to actually hit purchase. And the same goes for your customers and clients. They need a reason to buy RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, not next month, not next year. Right. Now.

That’s why it’s important to add some sort of urgency or scarcity to your offers.

Objections to Using Scarcity in Marketing

Before we get any further, you might be thinking, “But Kristin! Adding a deadline or offering a limited number of my products/services feels icky to me. I don’t want to have to FORCE someone to buy my offer. I want them to just want it!”

I get it. Of course, we don’t want to feel like we are twisting someone’s arm! But let’s consider this: They already DO want your offer or they wouldn’t be on your sales page, in your launch, or on a call with you. And when they do buy your offer, won’t they finally get the results and the transformation that they WANT? That they NEED? Of course! So you know your offer will help them, but they may just need that little extra push to make a decision.

Because you can’t help and serve people if they don’t actually buy your offer. So adding scarcity and urgency can actually be a positive thing. It can help you impact and serve more people because you’re helping them to get off the fence and make an actual decision.

However, the key here is to not add false scarcity or urgency. Don’t say there are only 2 spots available when really you’d take anyone who gives you money. Don’t say that doors close on Wednesday but really you plan to keep them open for another week because you want to get as many sales as possible. That is slimy. And if your audience starts to realize what you’re doing, you will totally lose their trust and you won’t be able to use scarcity or urgency again. So it has to be real, and you have to mean it.

How to Use Scarcity in Your Own Marketing (Without Feeling Yucky)

So let’s get into some actual strategy. What are ways to add scarcity and urgency to your offers?

Big Tip #1: Just close the doors on them!

Only make your offer available for a very short and specific timeframe. You can open and close the doors to your offers as often as you want, but the less often you do it, the more urgency there is. Most people are a lot more likely to buy into a program if they know they won’t get the chance to do so for another year.

You might be thinking “Won’t I miss out on sales if I close the doors and don’t have my offer available ALL the time?” Actually, no. You’ll more than likely INCREASE your sales. Why? Because you’re forcing people to make a decision to purchase! And if someone truly wants and needs what you have, then they’ll buy it. However, don’t make the mistake of doing a launch and having the cart close day be too far out. Most of your sales are going to happen on the first day and the last day of your launch cycle, so adding a whole ton of days in between is not going to help your sales. Instead, you should be using the weeks and months before your launch to build anticipation, build the need for your offer, and then when open the doors, give people a reason to buy it RIGHT NOW. Then, let them know the close the doors quickly. You can do this with service-based offers too. If you’re on a sales call with a potential client, tell them that you’re only holding a spot for them for 2 days. After that, you can’t promise that you’ll still be available.

Big Tip #2: Add a bonus or incentive that disappears if people don’t make a quick decision.

I don’t recommend a discount, because that devalues your offer. But a bonus or incentive should give people even more of a reason to buy right now. Typically, this bonus or incentive should be something that relates to your offer or helps them get results even faster. It has to be something that your potential client also really wants or needs. This can work for service-based businesses as well. You can tell a potential client that you have a special bonus for them if they sign up to work with you right now, but the bonus goes away once they leave the room or leave the call.

Big Tip #3: Restrict the number of products or spots available.

Now again, don’t use false scarcity. Don’t say there are only 10 spots available if you’ll take 100. Someone out there will notice and you’ll lose their trust. I’m always the weirdo that pays attention to stuff like that. And I’ve actually NOT bought from people when I see them using false scarcity. But you can tell people you only have room for 3 more clients this year or that you’re only opening up 15 spots to your new course, just make sure you stick to it.

Hopefully, your wheels are spinning with ideas to add some urgency and scarcity to your offers and encourage more people to make a decision. After all, it is our goal and our purpose to serve as many people as possible and to make the biggest impact that we can. We can’t do that if no one actually buys from us. So don’t be scared to give people the nudge they need to get off the fence and buy.

More Resources on Pricing, Scarcity & Urgency

Do you want to dive deeper into this topic? I’m also going to be adding a similar training as a bonus with the upcoming Pricing Workbook 2.0. So if you’re ready to not only get a handle on your pricing but also ready to change your relationship with money and get better at asking for it, sign up for the Workbook Waitlist and be the first to know when doors open again! 


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